There is a house.. by the sea - the scent of roses and raspberry leaves…
Here ends the series of logs completed in 2011, the original set of my stories from the road as recorded the evening or the day after. From here, I abruptly ran out of time to record what happened after visiting Zephronias. I'm remedying that omission, and telling that story, along with the consequences, in the next week or two Some dates will be fudged, because frankly, I lost all track of when, exactly, some things happened. It was a lot.
To all appearances, I simply drove north into Oregon and vanished into the Eastern Washington desert, there to build data centers, drink wine, and eventually, leave for Brazil.
Things were, and are, more complicated than that by a long shot. The next day blew the top off of my head, and what was supposed to be a week in the Bay Area, meandering through San Francisco, became three or four days of self-discovery, home-finding, home-losing, and a near miss with a friend stretched to his limits.
Things got complicated. Things got worse, and things got better. Some things stayed complicated and new and fresh, and some people remain in my life in a big way.
This is the end of one story, and the beginning of another.
The friends in Reno I'd stayed with had a crisis. One had reached the end of his rope, and thankfully, did the right thing and kept his wife in the loop. I woke up to discover that he'd been admitted for inpatient care - probably the best thing that could have happened to him. At the time, I had no idea what was going on. I was also terrified.
I've wrestled on and off with suicidal ideation for several years. My coming of age and my family situation wasn't the most ideal, and both sides of the family also tend towards anxiety and depression. I was scared for my friend, for his wife, and for myself.
The only thing I felt I could do was head back to Reno. I bought some books on mycology for my friend, and a card, and talked to some folks about what little I could do. And then my on again off again conversation with grundoon picked up.
I didn't want to see her. Well, I did. My interactions with her had been great. She'd been emotionally supportive, full of feedback, a great fellow staffer. I wanted to meet wertperch, too, a sage wit to my reading of him and his work. I liked both of them quite a lot.
But I'm not good with strong feelings. I was even worse at the time.
The writing was on the wall that while it was possible a miracle might happen, it wasn't likely, and they were to the management and prolonging of life stage. grundoon was dying. I also wasn't about to turn down meeting her or wert.
So I bought some wine on the way out to Davis and rolled right into the elf-named subdivision their house was on. Into a neighborhood shaded by citrus trees, arching around a community garden and green space.
I remember wanting to run when I knocked on the door.
Even dying, even sick, grundoon knocked me off my feet. She answered the door with a grin and told me to take my shoes off. She made me tea. I don't remember what we talked about, but I remember being dazed at the beauty of her headscarf, her regal bearing, at the her down to earth way of talking, at the aura that surrounded her. I have rarely, if ever, felt as comfortable as I did with someone I've just met.
To be frank and somewhat egocentric, it was like meeting my mother, if my mother had been sane and a hundred times as strong and empowered as Chris was. There was no narcissistic image of perfection - grundoon was as likely to lampoon herself as she was to crack wit about someone else, but it was with kindness that she did.
I had no doubt that she could just as easily be graciously, vehemently unkind, but then, so can all folks.
I wish I could tell you everything we talked about. Hell, I wish I could remember. Being in the house, visiting the garden, reading the tarot talking about the tarot, talking about people, eating dinner, pouring beer out as offering - wertperch coming in and cracking wise halfway through - I can remember the light of the house, the porch, the books, the cool tile of the kitchen. Chris's grin. Kevin's grin.
I can remember that somehow, they talked me, wary and scared and overwhelmed, into staying the night before I drove to Reno. Or maybe that was later.
I remember that they were gardeners, in every sense of the word, and I can't tell you how much I miss them. I can tell you how terrified I was at knowing Chris would be gone, possibly in the blink of an eye.
I can tell you I slept better in that house than I had anywhere in my twenty-five years.